LEWISTON — Mother Nature almost stole the show from Thievery Corporation, but after a long rain delay at Artpark, the group barreled through a high-energy set that had the faithful fans dancing in puddles. The massive ensemble founded by the duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton explored a wide array of sounds and styles that ranged from reggae to hip-hop, and changed out lead singers on a regular basis throughout the performance.
The opening band, Magic City Hippies, were scheduled to perform at 6:30 p.m., but a massive thunderstorm prevented Artpark from opening the gates until close to 8:30 p.m., so fans that braved the inclement weather were being let into the venue while Magic City was already performing.
Up to that point, fans had been waiting in cars, or in the empty Mainstage Theater, checking Artpark’s official Facebook page for updates. The storm presented some unique challenges because of its intensity, and as has been the case during previous rain delays, some in the crowd were getting impatient.
The biggest surprise was not the fact that the headliner was able to perform; it was how many braved the storm to stick around and see the show. The front of stage area was packed, and fans covered the bowl surrounding the stage as well, only the side hill was empty, but it certainly did not appear as though there was a huge drop off in attendees.
There did not appear to be any technical issues with the performance. Bass player Ashish Vyas happily bounced around the stage wearing blue coveralls, only stopping on occasion to throw down a towel to absorb some of the water that had puddles onstage.
The 13-song set covered most of the group’s catalogue, and featured six different lead singers. Guitarist Rob Myer switched from guitar to sitar on many of the songs, sitting cross-legged with his sitar in front of Garza.
The singers ran the full gamut of styles; an early highlight of the show was Mr. Lif singing “Culture of Fear.” Before he performed the song, he noted that Artpark attendees are some “dedicated music lovers,” for enduring the long rain delay.
The two female lead singers, LouLou Ghelichkahani and Natalia Clavier provided some contrast. Natalia has a beautiful and entrancing voice; LouLou has a wonderful stage presence.
As far as the energetic songs, when Mr. Lif and Puma were onstage together, they provided a ton of musical fireworks. The pair were together onstage leading the final number, “Warning Shots,” which wrapped up around 10:15 p.m.
The group’s performance was tight and energetic, and the fans that stuck it out responded enthusiastically. The crowd was very diverse, and included some parents that had brought their children along for what turned out to be fun night of music.
Based on the strength of the performance, this was probably not the last opportunity fans will have to see Thievery Corporation at Artpark. Hopefully next time around the weather will cooperate.